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Cameroon Regional Elections: Will it live up to Expectations?
Category :- Politics Author :- SHING TIMOTHY M 
Posted on September 7, 2020, 12:00 am
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The regional elections that have been heralded by the government of Cameroon and its surrogates will be convened anytime soon. The thought of this election cycle is already animating the political landscape in the country. The elections will come to consolidate the decentralization dream envisaged in the 1996 constitution of Cameroon

Preparations are hitting up in the regions as speculations are rife that the elections will soon be convened. Lobbying and camping, trademarks of underground electioneering are already picking steam across the country.

PRESIDENT PAUL BIYA

The stakes of the elections are even higher in the restive North West and Southwest regions since the government promised a Special Status to the two restive regions.  The issue of special status for the two regions was one of the key resolutions recommended after the major national dialogue. The meaning of special status for the regions remains vague, but the regional elections will present an opportunity for Anglophones to understand its meaning

Thus, the anticipated election is coming more than two decades after decentralization was written into the country’s constitution.

The upcoming regional elections will open a new page in Cameroon’s political history with more vibrant local councils and regions expected to be more independent of the central government and accountable to their electorate. These locally elected officials will better understand and respond to the needs of their citizens.

Some political actors see it as an opportunity to fulfil their ambitions left unfulfilled by the February 9th, 2020, Municipal and legislative elections. The government of Cameroon has been pressured by the effects of the Anglophone conflict. The conflict has increased its desire to devolve more powers to local elected officials. The devolution of powers from the over-centralised system has a goal to enhance local development led by local officials.

NI JOHN FRU NDI

The government will face the daunting task of organizing genuine elections in the conflict-wrecked Northwest and Southwest regions after the 2018 and 2020 elections. These elections witnessed very timid participation in the country with many denizens of these regions disfranchised by the threats from separatist fighters and the government’s inability to guarantee the security of all.

The government must also ensure equitable distribution of the regional council constituencies to include all the demographics of every region, Division and Sub Division. Thus minority populations within Divisions and Sub Divisions must have their voice heard at their regional councils.

All the 65 municipalities that make up the two regions have been affected by the Anglophone crisis, which has retarded development in these regions. The winners of the regional elections in these regions will inherit the same problems that have plagued the regions since late 2016.

REGIONAL ELECTION

This Special Status, which is exclusively for these two regions, is expected to start seeing the light of day as soon as the regional councils go operational. The resetting of the House of Chiefs and other key reforms within a specific frame will signal the fruition of the Special Status.

The Regional platform would take a much bigger twist and trend in the two English-Speaking regions. This will allow the regions to preserve its Anglo-Saxon culture and heritage.

Local government bodies need powers to exercise control and influence on the day-to-day running of their municipalities. They are also expected to have command over resources exploited and exported, as enshrined in the General Code for regional and local authorities.

ELECAM

Every Regional Council headed by a President is supposed to reflect the sociological composition of every region. Regional Councillors have a mandate of five years. Each region is entitled to 90 members; 70 delegates of divisions and 20 representatives of traditional rulers. The law further states that each subdivision shall provide at one councillor.

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